BVI News

Local lab can now test 500+ samples for COVID-19 daily

Minister of Health Carvin Malone

The laboratory that runs tests for COVID-19 at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital now has the capability of conducting more than 500 tests daily.

Minister of Health Carvin Malone made the disclosure during a community meeting held at the grounds of the Elmore Stoutt High School on Wednesday, January 13.

The minister said a number of additional works were undertaken at the facility to increase the lab’s testing capacity. He said this will allow for the continuous flow of results to persons more promptly.

“We were entrusted with over 40 to 45 million dollars to get all of these facilities and programmes readied and carried out throughout the territory — no district being left behind, no person being left behind in terms of what we had to do,” the minister stated.

“We have the capacity now to conduct over 500 tests a day. Now this is important because we are also responsible for looking in terms of any exemptions that people might need in entering with the protocols to actually reenter the territory,” he added.

24 to 48 hours required for return of results

Malone also advised persons taking the COVID test that 24 to 48 hours is required before the results are returned.

He said some persons were observed taking the test mere hours before it was needed and this resulted in unrealistic return timelines not being met.

“One of the common stalling points has been the ability of people to get the COVID-19 results back under five, six and seven days. In most cases, we’ve been able to do it within 24 hours, now where we do this, people would have their swabs done at 5 o’clock in the afternoon sometimes and they want it back by nine o’clock the other day. So it makes it look as if we are falling behind,” he explained.

Active cases expected to decline to 15

In a January 11 COVID-19 dashboard update, the lab had tested a total of 16,204 samples from 16,190 persons. The territory now has a total of 19 active cases with 12 on Virgin Gorda, six on Tortola, and one on vessel out at sea.

According to Malone, some of the active case numbers are expected to decline very soon due to a number of recoveries which are anticipated.

The minister also explained why a decision was made to add an analysis section to the government’s COVID-19 dashboard update.

“I get a daily report as to the number of cases that were rendered at the laboratory each day. Today, we are up to 19 active cases and by the time the report is done for yesterday’s and today’s work, it will be down to 15. So we have a number of positive cases added, a number of recoveries added and we are keeping a close monitor,” Malone said.

“If you look at the dashboard that we presently have, you would find that what we’ve done is expanded the information on there so that you have a better understanding as to what Cabinet and entire caucus and the government and the House of Assembly have to look at when making decision as to whether or not we are ready for what is ahead of us,” he further explained.

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  1. Soooo says:

    So the maximum number of people that can enter the Territory on any given day is 500. If you can only do 500 tests a day it’s no wonder the ports are remaining closed. Opening up ferry traffic would overwhelm the system in one day. The Territory clearly needs to remain closed to Tourists. The government didn’t and doesn’t have a plan. They have had nine months to plan and get ready and they are a complete failure. Most of all they have repeatedly lied to the people in lieu of being open and honest. You can forgive a mistake if the person owns it. You create hatred when you try to hide it.

    • Even less says:

      It’s actually only 250/day because everyone is test 2 times. On any given day there is capacity for 250 day 0 people and 250 day 4 people. This does not take into account the community testing, exit testing, or day 14 testing for UK or DR arrivals. When those groups are added, less than 250/day can enter.

    • Spirit says:

      Capacity would be less than 500 passengers entering because you also need testing capacity for the “Day 4” tests and the exit tests. Every day you will be testing the arriving passengers and also testing people who came in 4 days ago. It seems to me that limits the number of incoming passengers to 250 each day. Am I missing something?

      • @Spirit says:

        You are correct. Each day there are people entering being tested, day 4 tests, exit tests and local contact tracing tests. It’s amazing that the capacity is only up to 500 a day. There obviously was no planning. These people all need to be removed from office. Their incompetency is in plain view daily.

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